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Student Learning Outcomes (SLO) Assessment

SUNY Potsdam Learning Outcomes include Institutional Student Learning Outcomes (ISLO), Program Student Learning Outcomes (PSLO) and Course Student Learning Outcomes (CSLO) which are purposefully integrated and aligned.

What are Student Learning Outcomes?

Effective Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) are descriptive (describe what a student will be able to do), are measurable, and are plainly stated (i.e. understandable to faculty and students alike). They should focus on the product or performance rather than the process.

Why are SLOs essential?

SLOs define the measurable expectations of learning in a course, program, or curriculum. SLOs, therefore, serve as the basis for all assessment of student learning that is a result of an educational experience. Assessment of student learning provides information that allows us to improve teaching and learning in the classroom, as well as academic programs across our campus. 

Student learning outcomes benefit students by strengthening academic programs and enabling students to articulate and demonstrate what they know, understand and can do.

Finally, SLO assessment and the subsequent improvements made to programs are a requirement of ongoing institutional and programmatic accreditation.  Institutional accreditation is essential to the College as it ensures our students have access to federal financial aid. 

What does a well-written SLO include?

SLOs must include the following things:

  • Condition – The specific context under which the behavior is to be demonstrated.
  • Behavior – What the student will do.  Be sure to use an action verb of the appropriate learning level (see Bloom’s Taxonomy below).
  • Criteria – A definition of the minimum acceptable level of performance